Wednesday, November 8, 2017

God is Ever Present by Carla Long

Even though I’ve been a World Church minister for twelve years, there are still many moments when I’m offering ministry that I feel “less than” and not up to the task.  This past Women’s Retreat in Red Cliffe, Utah was no exception.

Charmaine Chvala-Smith was the guest minister and she is so talented and wise and kind and just the person that I always wanted to be, and she and I were helping to plan out our time together with the other women.  We decided that we wanted to explore all kinds of ways of tapping into the divine—through art, scripture, and song.

Charmaine was in charge of the art and scripture part.  We took big sheets of butcher paper, had a friend draw around our bodies, and then we could decorate our bodies in any way that we felt called to, I have NEVER, in my life, been in a room full of women where it was so quiet! Everyone was working diligently and peacefully on their body creation! It was certainly a spiritual moment. 

For the next session, we explored scripture in ways that, perhaps, many of us had never experienced before.  We stepped into a Bible story and found ourselves looking around us for new insights, new smells, new sounds, new ways of “feeling” what the characters in the story were feeling.  It was an awesome experience!

And then…it was my session!  Remember how I said I felt “not up to the task”? Well, my part was all about song, and going deeper with God through song.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy singing.  In fact, when I lived in Australia, I tried out for Australian Idol, made it through the first round, and then was disqualified because I’m an American!  So, I can sing.  But, I’m not (in any WAY, SHAPE, or FORM) an excellent and trained singer.  But, I should have relied on the spirit, because whatever you offer (just like in the parable of the talents), God takes and makes beautiful and bigger than you might have thought.  We talked about the Taize community in France and what song means to them, and then we practiced it.  We sang a few songs out of the hymnal and while the unfamiliar words and notes were hard at first, soon, I could feel that we truly leaned into them, and allowed the music to take us where sometimes we are vulnerable enough to go.  We sang, we lifted our voices, and we were carried away.  What an AWESOME experience.

I’m so grateful for a God who takes what we have to give and multiplies it.  I’m grateful for the reminders that God is ever present.